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Q:

When did the tradition of giving gifts on Christmas begin?

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The practice of giving gifts at Christmas is traced back to the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh that were given to the Christ child by the three Magi. The magi were kings from the East, wise men who traveled a great distance following a star, to find the Christ child and to bring him gifts. The visit of the Magi to the Christ child was originally celebrated on the Feast of Epiphany on January 6th. Over time, the tradition of giving gifts came to be more associated with Christmas than with Epiphany. (It is the time from Christmas to Epiphany in the Church calendar - from December 25th through January 6th - that is recognized as the twelve days of Christmas from the old Christmas carol.). However, the tradition of giving gifts to loved ones at Christmas became more and more popular as the middle ages ended and the modern era began. Various countries and peoples began to make gift-giving a regular part of the holy day (or holiday) over a period of time. By the time the Americas ... more
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